Feds warn of lead risk in NJ well water
by Joe Cutter, originally posted on September 6, 2016
A new report by the United States Geological Survey shows that New Jersey is at high risk for corrosive groundwater, which if left untreated, can cause lead contamination.
Almost a million people in New Jersey get their daily water from groundwater wells, many of them in Central and South Jersey. But the USGS survey warns of lead and other unhealthy stuff in pipes in distribution systems.
Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club says “the first and most important thing is to do the testing and find out where the problems are.”
The 20-year-old state Private Well Testing Act requires owners selling properties with well water to test the well before the sale. Landlords who lease their property have to test their wells and share the results with their tenants every few years. Test results that indicate health hazards have to be shared with nearby property owners.
Tittel, however, says that community notification isn’t working.
Tittel says contaminated well water can be remediated with treatment systems and filters.
“In some areas, it is just as simple as getting a water softening treatment system and putting filters on your faucets or on your house, because if you put the softening system in, then the water does not become as acidic and it doesn’t leach the lead out of pipes. In some areas, we have lead coming out of groundwater, because you have a certain amount of minerals in the water.”
Tittel says state officials should do more to address drinking water safety because “people’s health could suffer because of it.”
The state Drinking Water Quality Institute, which sets standards for hazardous contaminants in drinking water, did not meet between 2010 and 2014. And the state’s water supply master plan is more than 20 years old. Advocates and lawmakers who want a revised plan say the state has to take into account increased demand and pollution in determining whether the state’s water supply and delivery is safe and adequate.
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